So the Chicago Bulls used their MMLE this year, and I'll be thankful that I didn't go Charles Robinson and say I'd eat my laptop if they did. The use of the MMLE shows that Reinsdorf really is committing financial resources to improve the team as the Bulls were already in the tax before using it.
The oddity surrounding this is that it was used on Mike Dunleavy. Now Dunleavy's a very good shooter, and the Bulls clearly need shooting. On the surface, that doesn't seem too strange. However, there are a few odd things about this signing:
First, they likely could have pulled in Kyle Korver for the same price. Both players are shooting wings that aren't going to give you a whole lot outside of shooting. I'd suggest Korver's much better at running off screens and passing than Dunleavy while Dunleavy probably has a bit more dribble game than Korver.
However, both Korver's clearly the better pure shooter, and I don't think Dunleavy's a good enough ball handler to suggest that he fills the need of putting another ball handler on the court, nor is he a big defensive upgrade. Korver just seems like the more desirable player of the two to me, but I will agree it's fairly close.
Next, the Bulls used the MMLE for two seasons, meaning they've added three million to next year's cap. They were previously able to get about 14 million under the cap and now it will only be 11. I never thought they'd make a realistic play on a big name FA next year anyway, but it will be even more difficult now.
Also, if you're going to go into the tax and kind of blow up your 2014 cap room, why do it for yet another shooter? I suppose it shows that the Bulls really aren't putting any faith in Snell/Murphy which is probably a wise decision given that they're rookies, and Murphy is pretty far down in the draft so may not stick anyway.
That said, you had a pretty deep guard/wing rotation as it was with Rose, Hinrich, Butler, Deng, Snell, and Teague. You've now spent your money on a 7th perimeter player when getting a veteran minimum shooter seems possible. This certainly shows a lack of confidence in Teague/Snell to fill meaningful roles which might be the wise path I suppose.
Finally, if you're going to add a 7th perimeter player, why not bring back Nate Robinson? Robinson offers more shot creation than Dunleavy, and the Bulls might need that more than shooting. My guess is that the Bulls brass isn't all that comfortable with Robinson repeating the best season of his career, and well, I can hardly blame them there.
That said, the Bulls now have seven perimeter players, and they have exactly one whom I feel comfortable with creating his own shot. Doesn't that strike anyone as a problem?
Chicago will likely round out the big man rotation by adding Nazr Mohammed and one more player with the vet minimum. I'd say the Bulls roster has largely taken shape already, and it will be interesting to see what the rotation looks like.
The Bulls will have Rose, Hinrich, Teague as PGs with Hinrich playing a bit as a wing too. On the wing they'll have Butler, Deng, Dunleavy, and Snell. The big man rotation will look like Noah, Boozer, Gibson, Murphy, and Nazr with the last body likely being a minimum salaried big man or someone who can create junk offense off the dribble.
My guess is they go with a sixth big, but if they find the right creator then I could see them adding an eighth perimeter guy and utilizing more small ball shooting lineups rather than going big.
So getting past all of the above, Mike Dunleavy's a pretty good player. As his career has progressed, he's developed into a more consistent three point shooter. He's averaged around 41% from beyond the arc over the past three seasons while averaging around four attempts per game over that stretch.
Unlike a player like Korver, he gives you some dribble game and shot creation, as he gets more than half his shots inside the arc still which provides a bit more volume scoring. As a player and as a fit on next to Rose, I think Dunleavy's a very solid option.
I also love the fact that Reinsdorf gave Forman/Paxson the rope to use the MMLE and go even deeper into the tax this season. It shows that they're willing to throw some real money down to be competitive, and Bulls fans should be happy to see that, I know I am.
Also, when looking at the roster above, it looks like the Bulls have a pretty deep team all of a sudden doesn't it? If they could finish this off-season off by landing ZaZa or Blatche [edit, Blatche resigned with the Nets], I'd feel pretty amped about the amount of depth this team would have. They certainly have it on the perimeter now.